Israel Heading for a Solution?

EDITORIAL, 7 Aug 2017

#493 | Johan Galtung – TRANSCEND Media Service

This column has advocated a 1-2-6-20 solution: 1 Palestine fully recognized by Israel; a 2-state solution with borders according to international law; in a 6-state Middle Eastern community of Israel and Arab neighbors, in a 20+-state community, also with their neighbors.

The 2-state solution could be a confederation with Israeli cantons on the West Bank, and Palestinian cantons in Israel’s northwest.

The above is acceptable to Palestine, the Arab League and Iran. Not to Israel. Netanyahu wants expansion, secure borders and recognition. Impossible. With Trump’s help he expands further, leaving UNESCO, defying UN.

Except that Netanyahu and Trump are not going to be around forever.  They suffer from autism; Trump clinically, demanding total allegiance. Not one critical word about their America First! Israel First! policies.  Seeing the world from their bubbles, missing is reciprocity, the opposite of autism; taking in Other, not only taking Other on. Dialogue.

Yet, facts catch up with them and these are disturbing. Trump is not creating a great America, but an isolated America.  Netanyahu is not recreating a Genesis 15:18 Israel, but a non-viable Israel.

Israeli terrorists conquered and colonized. Yet let us be clear: Israel is not an apartheid state but “first- vs second-class citizens”. Nor is it a racist state; there are Jews and Arabs of all races. It is a “chosen people with promised land” state, claiming a divine mandate; out of touch with the post-Enlightenment rationality of our age.

The first non-viability point is an Arab minority becoming an Arab majority in Netanyahu’s Israel as “Jewish state for Jews only”. For that, Arabs would have to be expelled or that land detached for a smaller Israel, invoking heavier sanctions than Israel can withstand. USA can block UNSC, but not all bilateral diplomatic sanctions.

The second non-viability point is deeper. The Zionist concept–a good century ago–of a state for one nation only is non-viable.

Today people move in and out of everything, including Israel. Moreover, states as such are devolving, yielding to local autonomies from below, and to regionalization, globalization, from above.

There is a hard core Israel devoted not only to Genesis 15:18, but also to the belligerent Deuteronomy 20:10-20 and the geopolitical four tier model in Isaiah 2:1-4. And to the memory of the Jewish 5,000-strong brigade fighting heroically Nazi-Germany during WWII.[i]

Although there are also softer Israelis. Many of them, in USA, are parts to the escalating conflict between Israeli and diaspora Jews. Particularly women, given the choice of Orthodox Judaism for Israel; with women as second class citizens as witnessed at the Wailing Wall.

And there are empty Israelis: the Northwest whence the 780,000 Palestinians were driven out, the vast South.

Plus, under and above all that, the past, present and future filled with Palestinian resistance, the Intifadas, to get their land back. Still willing (PNC) to co-exist with a 4 June 1967 Israel. Netanyahu, helped by Trump, is escalating the expansion as Palestinians escalate their resistance. That struggle will never cease, making Israel a very viable battlefield and a non-viable country.

Given this, how do we arrive at a rational post-Netanyahu Israel?

By going back to the roots of the three Abrahamic religions, that lasting factor, but not the only one, in so much world belligerence.

Judaism shares monotheism with Islam, a good point of departure.

Christianity shares singularism-universalism with Islam, a very bad point of departure, excluding each other, with uneasy truces; now one dominating, now the other; here one dominating, there the other.

And Judaism shares a hierarchical, pyramidal view of geopolitics with Christianity, another bad point of departure, giving rise to the Judeo-Christianity legitimizing US exceptionalism and belligerence.

But the point here is the Judaism-Islam relation.

In principle, it opens for Jews living as they used to do, with people of The Book, believers in the kitab, all over in Muslim lands.  Including what Jews see as their Holy Land, much of the Middle East. So, why be so modest and go for only that little speck of land called Israel?  Why not leave 4 June 1967 Israel to hard core Zionists, they are there already, liberating the rest of the world from them?

In addition, simply reciprocate the Muslim tolerance of Jews, by living next to them, two monotheistic religions, based on divine revelations? Like they did for so many centuries under one Muslim dynasty after the other, the Omayyads, the Abassids, the Fatimids, the Ottomans–till the Zionists implanted the European nation-state idea in West Asia.

This would take much dialogue, and much and skillful negotiation.  For one thing, Jews may have to swallow the bitter pill of apologizing for the efforts to make it look as if they had been driven out of Arab-Muslim countries, concealing that they had benefited from an age-old tradition, back to the Prophet, building as he did, on their Prophets.

This policy has as little chance in today’s political reality as that reality has of becoming viable.  Exactly for that reason a vision of an alternative is needed, even indispensable. This is one effort.

We could go a step further: there are Christians in the area. Once the three celebrated a long-lasting Golden Age together; there is no law saying that golden ages can only happen in southern Spain. Even more likely in the Holy Land, with Jerusalem in the center with sacred spaces for all of them, of course not under Israeli “sovereignty”.

And sacred times for all of them, to be respected by the others.

The world wants messages of peace from these great, old faiths, not everlasting belligerence. That could emanate from Jerusalem, by highlighting the traditions of togetherness and tolerance rather than the opposite: the Abrahamic faiths betraying the human hope of peace.

The world is waiting. Time for this to happen is now.

NOTE:

[i]. See Howard Blum: Ihr Leben in unserer Hand. Die Geschichte der Jüdischen Brigade im Zweiten Weltkrieg (München: Econ).

______________________________________________

Johan Galtung, a professor of peace studies, dr hc mult, is founder of TRANSCEND International and rector of TRANSCEND Peace University. Prof. Galtung has published more than 1500 articles and book chapters, over 470 Editorials for TRANSCEND Media Service, and more than 170 books on peace and related issues, of which more than 40 have been translated to other languages, including 50 Years100 Peace and Conflict Perspectives published by TRANSCEND University Press. More information about Prof. Galtung and all of his publications can be found at transcend.org/galtung.

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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 7 Aug 2017.

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7 Responses to “Israel Heading for a Solution?”

  1. George Kent says:

    Johan concludes what could be described as Chapter 1 of a Jerusalem-centered book of peace by saying:

    “The world wants messages of peace from these great, old faiths, not everlasting belligerence. That could emanate from Jerusalem, by highlighting the traditions of togetherness and tolerance rather than the opposite: the Abrahamic faiths betraying the human hope of peace.”

    I offered another chapter in “Art and the Building of Peace.” Critical Arts: South-North Cultural and Media Studies. Vol. 27, No. 4, 2013, pp. 444-448. http://www2.hawaii.edu/~kent/ArtBuilding.pdf Who will carry the vision forward and write the next chapters, bringing out the voices and visions of all faiths?

    Where are the succesors to David Barenboim and Edward Said?

    Aloha, George

  2. Steve says:

    “For one thing, Jews may have to swallow the bitter pill of apologizing for the efforts to make it look as if they had been driven out of Arab-Muslim countries, concealing that they had benefited from an age-old tradition, back to the Prophet, building as he did, on their Prophets.”

    Not sure what point Dr Galtung is trying to make here. That no jews were ever persecuted in, our driven out from Arab-Muslim countries?

    I think there is some good ideas in this, but ever so often Dr Galtung’s writings seem driven by a anti-Israel/anti-US slant that nullifies even the good points.

  3. Gary Corseri. says:

    Johan Galtung, as usual, takes a wide-angle view of the world–and a deep view, also. His fertile, creative and brilliant mind connects historical trends, ancient and modern philosophical frameworks, psychological insights, political conventions (including mistakes and advances). I think his only “prejudice” is against prejudice (and pre-judgment) itself! In a world of noise, he sounds a clear, steady voice. He is never simplistic (as some of his critics are, and too many are in our “modern” world). He invites “dialogue”; and tries to clear the clutter so that real dialogue can occur.

    This article reminded me of a book I read a few years ago: THE ORNAMENT OF THE WORLD, by Maria Rosa Menocal. Professor Menocal brought her considerable historian’s credentials, and her narrative talents, to telling the tale of Al-Andalus, the centuries-long advanced civilization of Spain when “Muslims, Jews and Christians created a culture of tolerance,” “extensive cooperation and even symbiosis.” Religious leaders and scholars translated each others’ books, worked together to advance a higher vision of the polity, prospered and “dialogued.”

    We have much to learn in this “modern” world of divisions, diversions, “clashing civilizations,” and dissonance. I, for one, am very grateful that Johan has performed his noble work for half a century and more, and that he has inspired others at Transcend Media and around the world to pursue the work, as well.

    All religions and ideologies expand and contract, contract and expand over time. They are waves of thought and energy that challenge the observant to preserve the highest principles of the old order while embracing and incorporating new knowledge, new realities, new connections. It is an ancient challenge and our greatest challenge now.

    • Steve says:

      @Gary

      I have a two-sided view of Dr Galtung. I fully agree with your first part “Johan Galtung, as usual, takes a wide-angle view of the world–and a deep view, also. His fertile, creative and brilliant mind connects historical trends, ancient and modern philosophical frameworks, psychological insights, political conventions (including mistakes and advances).”

      One of the reasons I return to transcend is that I get views from Dr Galtung that works that way. Brilliant, insightful and much much broader than most.

      However I totally disagree with your second point. Dr Galtung is human and as all humans with faults and weaknesses. And it is obvious that he has severe prejudice against US/Israel. Knowing him it’s less of a problem: You just automatically balance out what he is saying, divide every bad thing he writes about US/Israel with, and the other way around with China/Russia and his other favs.

      But if you don’t know him and his build-in bias you’ll be much more inclinded to shrug and think “oh, just another lefty”, and miss the good parts.

      • Dürres says:

        steve, galtung is galtung. If you come here to read him you know what he stands for. His world is the usa against the rest, and he is on the side of the rest. You don’t expect a guy to not have the back of his allies..

  4. Gary Corseri. says:

    Steve, thanks for your comments. As a matter-of-fact, I have a 2-sided view of your comments here! I agree with your first 2 paragraphs, but do not agree with your second 2 paragraphs. I don’t doubt that all humans have “faults and weaknesses” (including, I suspect, even you and I!). But, in my conversations with Dr. Galtung, in my reading of his books and articles, I have not detected “severe prejudice against US/Israel.” Nor have I detected any “build-in bias” in favor of China/Russia.

    • Steve says:

      @Gary

      OK, could you point out a few writings here on Transcend, where Dr Galtung is as critical towards China/Russia as is towards US/Israel week in week out?